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Conducting a research project involves a series of stages, each of which presents the researcher with a better understanding of the topic and the implications of the study. In the initial stage, it is crucial to conceptualize the research study. This process incorporates coming up with a hypothesis and establishing research methods as well as explaining the level and direction of analysis to be performed as part of the project. It is also necessary to identify the nature of the research at this stage. Thus, the present paper will address all these issues and provide insight into the project under discussion.
The Subject of Research
In the light of current events taking place in the United States and impacting people in other parts of the world, I think that it is a good idea to investigate the question of social justice and the ways it is maintained in social networks. However, I realize that this issue is too broad; thus, it is necessary to narrow the intended area of concentration in order to be able to conduct a thorough study. Taking into consideration the popularity of social network websites, I decided to focus on one favored by a majority of users both in the United States and in other countries.
Thus, I narrowed my research subject to the issue of whether Facebook is an appropriate platform for social justice. While some authors believe that Facebook can perform the function of a social justice platform (Copley; Siegman), others consider it an insufficient means of coordinating social movements (MacLellan). I would like to analyze the sources defending or opposing Facebook’s role as a social platform in people’s lives and make a conclusion about this issue.
The hypothesis in a research study is the core statement that is about to be tested (Babbie 46–47). In my research, I want to check whether being Facebook users impacts people’s understanding of social justice and has the power to involve people in social movements. At this point, I am inclined to think that Facebook is an appropriate platform for social justice. Therefore, the hypothesis of this research is: “People using Facebook are more likely to get involved in social justice movements than those who do not use this social network.” During this research, I will gather data and analyze literature that will enable me to prove or disprove the hypothesis.
There are two major types of methods employed in social research: qualitative and quantitative (Bryman 16–17). Additionally, a researcher may choose to combine both approaches and use a mixed-method design. The current study seems to lend itself to the use of qualitative methods. In this kind of research, people’s opinions about some social issues are taken into consideration rather than statistical data.
Moreover, qualitative methods allow the researcher to provide deeper insight into some social issues. Thus, this approach is the most suitable for the project under discussion. I want to investigate how a social phenomenon (using Facebook) impacts people’s opinions about some issues (social movements) as well as to what extent. The methods chosen for the study are a survey and observation.
Testing a hypothesis presupposes establishing research variables. The two main types of variables are independent and dependent (Jha 78–80). There is a close connection between them: The dependent variable is contingent on the independent one. In the proposed project, the independent variable is people’s use of Facebook as a social network. The dependent variable is people’s disposition to participate in social justice movements as a result of using Facebook.
Level of Analysis
It is possible for an investigator to perform analysis at three different levels: micro, meso, and macro (Chambliss and Schutt 29–30). The micro-level is the smallest unit of analysis, and it involves examining the opinions of individuals in their customary social settings. The meso-level analysis includes larger participant groups such as organizations or communities. At the macro level, issues are analyzed on a global scale.
In my project, I will perform the analysis at a micro (personal) level. This unit of analysis presupposes learning the opinions of individuals (Chambliss and Schutt 29). In my case, I will investigate how involvement in a social network–based justice movement alters people’s attitudes to real-life movements.
Direction of Analysis
In terms of direction, research may be either deductive or inductive (Bryman 21–23). Inductive reasoning presupposes coming up with a new theory based on collected data, while the deductive approach is aimed at analyzing existing theories and processing the data with their help. For the current project, deductive analysis is the most suitable. This type of reasoning presupposes analyzing theory, setting a hypothesis, collecting data, and analyzing the findings (Bryman 21).
Further, the researcher either confirms or rejects the hypothesis. Finally, there is a need to revise the theoretical base chosen for research. The last phase draws upon the implications of inductive reasoning, which indicates that no research can be purely inductive or deductive but rather combines both kinds of analysis with a stronger emphasis on one kind.
The Nature of Research
Two kinds of research are basic and applied. Applied research is employed to find answers to concrete questions, and it has explicit applications. This type of study is aimed at seeking solutions to concrete problems. While basic research cannot boast the same level of explicitness or applicability in real-life situations as its counterpart, this research type is far from useless. Basic research can enhance people’s understanding of phenomena and issues that occur around them. Thus, the major difference between applied and basic research can be seen in the ways their results can be used.
By its nature, my research project falls within the basic category. It will not solve a particular problem or suggest an innovative approach to a scholarly dilemma, but it will contribute to understanding individuals’ attitudes toward social justice movements while investigating the role of Facebook in shaping their opinions.
The conceptualization statement has discussed the major issues of the future research project. The subject of the research and its hypothesis, along with the methods and the nature of the study, have been established. The level and direction of analysis have been explained. The subject of this project is whether Facebook may be considered an appropriate platform for social justice. The hypothesis is that Facebook users are more likely to get involved in social justice movements than people who do not use this social network.
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Qualitative methods (observation and surveys) will be employed. The analysis, which is deductive, will be performed at a micro-level. By its nature, this research is basic. It is not aimed at finding answers to specific problems, but it will show people’s attitudes to some of the most pressing issues of the modern world.
Babbie, Earl. The Basics of Social Research. 7th ed., CENGAGE Learning, 2017.
Bryman, Alan. Social Research Methods. 5th ed., Oxford University Press, 2016.
Chambliss, Daniel F., and Russell K. Schutt. Making Sence of the Social World. 4th ed., SAGE Publications, 2013.
Copley, Caroline. “German Minister Says Facebook Should Be Treated as a Media Company.” Reuters. 2016. Web.
Jha, Avdhesh S. Social Research Methods. McGraw Hill Education, 2014.
MacLellan, Lila. “Can Hashtags and Facebook Groups Bring on Real Social Change?” Quartz. 2015. Web.
Siegman, Reuben. “Millennials, Social Media, and Social Justice.” Washington University Political Review. 2016. Web.